Know the Common Accounting Mistakes Small Las Vegas Businesses Make

The availability of a wide range of accounting applications for small and medium-sized businesses have made managing a company much easier. Accounting tools helped business owners to keep an accurate record of where the finances are spent. However, not all of these tools are perfect. In fact, a host of them has made accounting mistakes, such as improper categorizing of transactions. While some errors are minor and easy to rectify, other common accounting mistakes can mean the downfall of a business. 

Poor accounting practices can falsely give business owners an overview of their company’s financial health. In this article, we’ll discuss the common accounting mistakes that small businesses make.

Profits = Cash Flow

To assume that a projected profit equates to cash flow is a common accounting mistake. It is quite tempting to place a closed deal as an income. For a new business, it is a gratifying task. After all, it’s an income for the business. However, by doing that practice, it can give a false sense of a company’s financial status. For instance, you booked a deal for $60,000. This deal will take the company about four months to fulfill. The project will cost $30,000 in expenses for your company, and so you write down $30,000 as a profit even before delivering anything. Wrong. It is crucial to take into account any uncertainties during the completion of the project. What if, for example, a machine broke down and you have to shell out money for its repairs. It would cause a delay on the deliverables and the $30,000 costing would not be inaccurate. 

Absence of Accounting Procedures

In accounting, it is crucial to have a documented and detailed procedure of bookkeeping and procedures. Without checklists and standardized forms, it will be hard to keep track of all the items necessary to keep the records up to date. For instance, setting up a new vendor account needs company name, contact details, Employer Identification Number (EIN), signed documents, and other documents. All these details are necessary to process payments.  It is best to have a checklist, so none of these details are missing, allowing for a more streamlined process within the department. 

Insufficient Bookkeeping Practices

One of the critical processes in accounting is recording transactions. This bookkeeping process helps owners to have a better picture of their financial health. All transactions – big or small – must be documented and categorized accurately in the accounts. 

Taking bookkeeping seriously also involves the monthly checking of books of accounts. It helps keep the business financially secure. 

Classification of Employees and Contractors

From an accounting standpoint, it is a must to differentiate if the company has employees or contractors. While some may think this differentiation is unimportant in terms of business operations, there is a big difference, and it must be accounted for. Businesses must correctly classify their workers appropriately to avoid audits from the IRS

In-House Accounting

For small business owners who want to trim down their operational costs, it is tempting to do all the bookkeeping and accounting in-house. What they don’t know is that this process only costs their business more money. Yes, an accountant will be an additional cost, but they also come with financial savings. They are more knowledgeable when it comes to tax deductions. They can also spot accounting mistakes that can ultimately save you money on penalties.

Failure of Reconciliation of Accounts

Most business owners fail to do a regular reconciliation of their bank accounts with their books of accounts. This practice allows them to see whether the records in the books of accounts are accurate and up to date. Small businesses must do this reconciliation of accounts at least once a month to ensure all records are correct and no transactions are missing. 

Ignoring Small Transactions

It is tempting to ignore small transactions and not record it. However, to successfully run your business, even little spending should be recorded. No matter how insignificant the cost may be, it has a major impact on your business, especially if it happens often. These small transactions can also help business owners see where expenses go so they can come up with a wise business decision. 

Data Entry Errors

Errors in data entry is a common accounting mistake that can happen from time to time. However, when it becomes too frequent, the business can suffer. It might be time to come up with a policy regarding reconciliations to counter-check all entries and make corrections as necessary. This reconciliation process can also be used to review unusual transactions. 

No Budget for Projects

When a project does not have a set budget, it can be easy to spend more than the company can allow. Similarly, it can result in spending the budget towards a project that does not have a return on investment. If this happens far too often, it can cause insolvency of the business. Setting a budget means working with a project that can help effectively sustain the business. 

Poor Communications with Bookkeeper or Accountant

 It is crucial for business owners to maintain a collaborative communication with the bookkeeper so they can appropriately update the records. Bookkeepers must be properly informed of all transactions involved in running the business, especially concerning recurring products and services. 

Key Takeaways

Accounting is a tedious but necessary process. Once you’ve set a clear procedure of a business’ finances and transactions, it is easy to avoid these common accounting mistakes. 

Why and How to Choose a Logo for your Las Vegas Business

To build a strong brand, a company must be wise in choosing the logo that would best fit their business. The logo must not only be attractive but should also be unique enough to be at the top of mind of consumers.

Why Create a Logo?

Good Logos Are Memorable and Inviting

A logo is your company’s face – this is how you get your target market to recognize and remember you. Thus, it would be best if you designed it in such a way that it immediately captures people’s attention. Whether the logo will be used in small business cards only or be displayed in a huge billboard, the effort you put in should be the same. The outcome should spark people’s interest in your business and the products or services you offer. 

Logos Make You Have a Distinction to Your Competition

Some logo designs have elements that are already present in almost all other logos within the same niche or industry. Logos of pizza parlors, for example, mostly depict a chef tossing a pizza.

If you are a new entrant to the competition, you must think of ways to design your logo in a way that sets it apart from the others. This distinction will unconsciously make your customers cling onto your brand more than they do to the others.

Great Logos Facilitate Brand Loyalty

A successful and well-established logo in the market goes a long way in acquiring customers that eventually become loyal to your brand. However, companies decide to improve or redesign their logos for several reasons, such as upgrading their overall look. Loyal customers begin to have a slight feeling of detachment because the logo they were accustomed to is no longer there. As a result, they perceive the business as a new brand in the market. Companies must be cautious when developing or redesigning their brand’s logo and consider these risks.

Logos Have the Ability to Be Everywhere

The company must be very confident with its logo before releasing it to the public. Since it will be placed on different platforms like social media, websites, and news spaces, it will reach a considerable amount of possible customers. Successfully tying the brand’s message and logo allows them to associate every action of the company to the logo.

There Is Never a Second First Impression

The first time a prospect gets oriented with a brand is usually through its logo. Companies should make sure that their logo must leave an excellent impression on the public. And eventually, the goal is for people to retain and recall the brand in their minds when making a purchase decision.

What to Know Before Starting a Pet Care Business in Las Vegas

The pet care industry is a lucrative business to get into, but it is a challenging one to tap into. Those who decide to haphazardly get into the pet care business in Las Vegas without a solid plan end up failing most of the time. Mainly because people think that being a pet lover is enough to start a pet care business, but turning your love for pets into a business means dealing with certifications, licenses, payroll, and other costs. 

Here are some of the important things to know before starting a pet center business in Las Vegas

Choose the Scope of Your Business

Before starting your pet care business, you have to consider what type of service you’re willing to offer. You have to know that there is a big difference between being a dog walker and a multi-animal boarding business. The space requirements and certifications needed vary. 

Create a Business Plan

A business plan will serve as your guide throughout your process of starting your business. It will include the business name, the scope of services, the number of employees, the marketing campaign, and the budget. While you are drafting your business plan, it would be wise to secure the help of someone knowledgeable about the business. During this stage of planning, you may also want to look at the local and state requirements for starting your pet care business. 

In Las Vegas, pet shops must have a business license and must comply with licensing requirements and reporting, including inspections and audits. 

Scout a Location

Your location should complement your goals. For instance, if you’re looking at, including boarding, grooming, and training of animals, your space should be big enough to accommodate all animals. To get an idea of your space requirements, take the time to tour pet shops around the area. Once you’ve found the space that meets your needs, inquire in the city hall about zoning regulation and other pertinent restrictions to make sure you’re not violating any laws. 

Do a Feasibility Study

Aside from scouting an area for your spatial needs, take the time to see the demographics of the people living in the area. Get to know your competition and see what you can offer that will benefit your target customers. It is crucial to ensure that you have a customer base that can sustain your business. Being a new player means that you have to provide an option so people will consider you over long-standing pet shops in the area. 

Review Your Budget and Financing

Depending on your needs, you have to think about how much money you’re willing to shell out for this business. Are you ready to take out a loan to finance the business? Will you shoulder all the costs? Are you working with a partner/s? If yes, how much should each one contribute? If getting a business loan, it’s best to start with the one you already have a good relationship with. 

Invest in Your Certifications

While not all pet care businesses need certifications, they are useful in terms of edging out your competition. Besides, you have to be knowledgeable in your industry, and any form of education or training can help you boost your confidence and authority. 

Create Your Policies

To make your pet care business in Las Vegas successful, you have to come up with policies. You have to establish your workflow and business hours. Your pricing should be competitive but still sustainable. Your system should include the handling of client payments. It must also detail liabilities and responsibilities in the contracts. Don’t forget to include basic emergency and contingency plans, including getting a veterinarian to work with, preparing a vet release form, and pet guardianship from clients to protect against unwanted accidents. 

Secure Business Licenses and Inspections

Pet care businesses in Las Vegas are required to maintain a business license and shall open their shop for inspection bi-annually by an animal control officer. Pet care businesses must also have their premises inspected before they receive their initial business license. 

Never Forget Your Taxes

As a business, you always have to put taxes on your calendar of obligations. Check what types of payroll taxes you have to pay. In Las Vegas, pet care business owners do not have to pay business taxes, but they have to prepare payroll tax reports.

Market Your Business

A pet care business is one of the top 10 businesses to start in Las Vegas. That said, the competition is tough. You have to start selling yourself by highlighting what you can offer better than the rest. One of the most efficient ways you can edge out your competition is by getting a Better Business Bureau (BBB) Vegas accreditation. This accreditation will let your customers know that you are a reliable and legitimate business. You can also use different marketing tools to get your business out there, especially since you are still new in the industry, and you are yet to build your customer base. One of the effective advertising technique you can use is giving your target customers an in-depth look at your business through 360° Advertising

Final Word of Advice

Business owners who know their business from top to bottom are the ones who end up being successful. Knowing the industry, its coverage, and the pitfalls can save them from a lot of trouble. Before starting a pet care business in Las Vegas, think through all the tips enumerated above and see whether the business is right for you. 

10 Things New Entrepreneurs in Las Vegas Should Know

Las Vegas may be famous for the strip. Many films and pop culture depict the city as a place where people go to gamble, get drunk, and party all night. While it is true for Las Vegas, it often overshadows the real glitter of Las Vegas, particularly for startups. 

Unknown to many, Nevada consistently ranks as one of the U.S. most business-friendly states. In Forbes list of Best States for business, Nevada ranked 21st. In CNBC’s Top States for Business, Nevada took the 29th spot and for the U.S. News 10 Best States for Business, Nevada was in the 6th spot. If these are enough reasons for you to consider starting a business in Las Vegas, we’ll help you get started on your journey.

Here are the ten things new entrepreneurs in Las Vegas should know: 

1. Affordable Cost of Living 

Las Vegas has a low cost of living. Unlike well-known startups hubs like Boston, Bay Area, and New York, Las Vegas’ cost of living is way below the national average. 

2. A Slew of Tax Breaks

Nevada is a business-friendly state because of its tax climate. Businesses find it liberating that they do not have to shoulder a slew of taxes. Nevada does not impose the following taxes:

  • Personal income tax
  • Business income tax
  • Franchise tax
  • Gift tax
  • Inheritance tax
  • Unitary tax
  • Estate tax

3. Thriving Startup Scene

Las Vegas is fast-becoming a startup haven as more and more startup founders choose to do business in the state. Why? Because the state provides an excellent space for small businesses to thrive. Founders find the state cheaper to run a business since they can acquire cheaper office spaces and rental homes. Developer talent is also as bright as the strip. 

4. Business Licences are Mandatory

While Nevada ranks highly in terms of providing an avenue for growth for small businesses, they are extremely strict when it comes to business licenses. So you would want to make sure that you have that figured out and settled before you start your operations. 

5. Home-Based Businesses Need Licences

Even if you are operating your business from your home, you still need to have the necessary licenses to keep your business running. Note Nevada has restrictions when it comes to providing a license to businesses. For instance, it is illegal to sell home-cooked meals to the general public. If you want to start this kind of business, you have to make sure that you have access to a commercial kitchen. 

Also, it might be useful to know that business addresses become public information. If you want to don’t want to expose your home address, you might want to use a mailbox for your business address. Before doing so, check local regulations first to know whether it is permissible. 

Related: Top 10 Business Ideas in Las Vegas

6. Location is Important

When you head to Las Vegas to start a business, you should first scout the best area for your industry. If you want don’t want to be overshadowed by the competition, you might want to explore other areas than the strip. 

Las Vegas’ area is so varied that to cop the best place, an entrepreneur has to scout each community to find the perfect fit. There are areas in Las Vegas where a particular business won’t work. You have to identify those to position your business effectively. If you get the right spot, it could mean valuable exposure. Take advantage of the regular local trade shows if you want to showcase your business.

It is also essential to know about the area’s crime statistics before settling. 

7. Invest in Your Employees

Las Vegas has a fantastic talent pool. The city has a strong workforce willing to work for businesses. The absence of state income tax means that businesses can invest in their employees. However, this does not mean that employers have to be lax when it comes to their hiring process. New entrepreneurs in Las Vegas have to be wary about opportunists who only want to make money and get off quickly. Don’t scrimp on background checks. 

8. Have Proper Amenities in Place

Las Vegas’ bright lights and the thriving city makes people forget that Nevada is a desert. So, entrepreneurs must have proper amenities in place. Air-conditioners in offices is a must. Make sure your employees can work despite the scorching heat outside. Invest in fire alarms and emergency security as well.

9. It is a Buyer’s Market

While Nevada’s economy is slowly improving, it is still a buyer’s market. Prices are yet to approach pre-recession rates, and this is what new entrepreneurs in Las Vegas can take advantage of, particularly if they are considering buying a commercial space or renting an office building for their business. 

10. Gaming Tax

While the state does not have a slew of taxes, as mentioned above, it relies heavily on the gaming tax. Gambling sites in Nevada fall under two categories: restricted locations that have 15 or fewer gaming machines and unrestricted locations, which has more than 15 table games and machines. The jurisdiction falls under the Gaming Control Board and licenses under the Gaming Commission. Revenue taxes go directly to the state’s general fund. Tax rates are as follows: 

  • 7.75% effective tax rate
  • 6.75% tax on gross gaming revenues
  • 1% of taxes in fees

Now that you have the proper knowledge about Las Vegas as a business destination, it is time for you to begin the process of starting a Las Vegas business. 

Why Start a Real Estate Business in Las Vegas

Are you thinking about starting a business in Las Vegas? If yes, you might want to start a real estate business. Las Vegas is a beautiful city to live and do business in. While it was not bulletproof from economic failure like the Great Recession of 2008, it was one of the cities that have efficiently and successfully overcome it. Since then, Las Vegas became an ideal city to start a real estate business. 

The real estate market of Las Vegas is as hot as its climate, and we’re going to tell you why.

The Current Real Estate Market of Las Vegas

In 2018, the Realtor.com ranked Las Vegas as the number one real estate market in the U.S., the first time it has ever achieved such feat. The ranking was based on the inventory of homes, its current market price, number of home constructions, and local economic trends. 

This year, the numbers are set to reach its pre-recession high. During the first half of 2019, the demand for housing in the city significantly increased. During the same period, the median home value in Las Vegas equaled $273,800, well above the national average. In the past year alone, home values increased by 1.8%, and it will continue to post a growth of 0.8% in the next few months, according to data from Zillow. 

Note, however, that properties in the city have a median list price per square foot is $169, lower than the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise Metro average of $170. 

Contributing Factors Fuelling the Real Estate Market

Based on the figures released by the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors (GLVAR), Las Vegas’ housing market is beginning to stabilize following years of constant volatility, as the local real estate prices continue to appreciate at a rate comparable with historic averages. 

The influx of California Buyers to Las Vegas

It could be due to the influx of Californians considering Las Vegas’ vibrant economy and impressive value for money. The city impressed many California buyers because they can easily purchase a newly-built and bigger property from the money they have selling their dingy and smaller Orange County home. 

Most of the realtors claim that the new Inspirada master-planned housing community located in South Henderson is an excellent market for Californians who want to move to Southern Nevada because of its close distance to work, good value for money, and family-oriented community. 

Some California property owners think of moving to Nevada as a result of Oakland Raiders football franchise’s relocation to Las Vegas. They want to move because of the positive sales that the football team will bring to their business, especially that Nevada does not impose a personal income tax, corporate tax, sales tax, and inventory tax. 

Rapid Economic Growth

Another contributing factor that fuels the growth of Las Vegas’ real estate market is the ongoing economic progress in the area. The city is essentially under construction with its impressive level of expansion of convention, tradeshow, and experiential event places. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the city has approximately 2.7 million square feet of event, meeting, and event convention space under construction. This number does not include the newly expanded 350,000 square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center and MGM Resort International’s 20,000-seater T-Mobile Arena. 

By 2020, Las Vegas will see the completion of the following projects: 

These construction projects open more jobs for the city’s growing population. When there are jobs, people tend to buy more homes. Some of the local residents are also downsizing and upscaling. This trend drives the resales and new home purchases in the city. In Las Vegas, it is possible for buyers to purchase luxury homes while downsizing. 

Perhaps the major factor that drives the booming market of Las Vegas is everyone’s concerted effort to improve and revamp the city to bring back its glorious and vibrant past. It is true for every individual in Las Vegas who wants to do their part in making the city one of the prime locations in the U.S.

Onwards to the Future

Starting a real estate business in any city is tough, as it has its own challenges. But, this can all change if you time your entry into the industry properly, and you choose the right city to start your business. In Las Vegas, small businesses are doing a significant part in contributing to economic growth. And if you want to be part of it, it is time to start your real estate business in Las Vegas. If you want to know more about starting a Nevada business, you can browse our site for more guides. 

Related: Top 10 Business Ideas In Las Vegas

Top 10 Tech-Related Businesses You Can Start in Las Vegas

In this modern age, those who have in-depth knowledge of technology get the best platform to showcase their skills. Just take a look at all the startup businesses that are mushrooming nowadays. Most of them are introducing techs that were thought to be impossible before. 

Las Vegas is rapidly becoming an ideal city to start tech-related businesses. Las Vegas is home to some of the best tech startups, including Influential, NS8, Prime Trust, and Emprove, Inc. In fact, LinkedIn’s February 2018 Workforce Report mentioned that Las Vegas might soon become the next tech hub in the U.S. since as much as 44% of LinkedIn members moved in the city fuelled by increasing demand for tech skills. The same report noted that Nevada’s good weather, fast-growing local economy, low cost of living, and absence of state tax all contribute to the success of Las Vegas as a tech destination. 

If you don’t have yet a disruptive idea that will change the tech industry, you can still ride on this growing business by exploiting what these tech businesses need by offering them what you already have – tech skills and knowledge. 

Here are the top 10 tech-related businesses you can start in Las Vegas

Computer Repair and Maintenance

If you have a solid technical background and a deep understanding of computers and their functions, then it would be easy for you to start a small business of computer repair and maintenance. If you are knowledgeable on all platforms, the better. You can also increase your income by selling monitors, hard drives, and other necessary computer-related accessories. 

Computer Training

Tech-savvy individuals will do well by offering their services to these startups by training their employees about computer hardware, software, and other computing skills that will contribute to their business operations. 

Blog Consultation

If you know how to build a blog, you can start a blog consultation firm. Most of these startups would need to market and advertise their products and services, and you can lend them your skills by helping them set up their blogs. If you have built a network from previous jobs, you can also outsource writing and other blog projects to a third party and earn a profit by managing their tasks. 

Data Entry Businesses

You can start a data entry business for these tech startups. Since it is often cheaper to outsource these jobs than hiring regular employees, tech startups often secure the services of third-party data entry businesses, and this is where you come in. 

Starting a data entry business is lucrative since almost all industries require them since record-keeping is necessary for companies. It will give you a wider pool of companies to cater to, not just tech startups. 

eBay Consultation

eBay remains as one of the top online buying and selling platforms today. If you are proficient in how eBay works, you can use this knowledge to teach others how to make a profit using the platform. 

Internet Research Services

Do you have an eye for searching the Internet? If yes, then you can use this to start an Internet research business. Most startups need to stay on top of their industry. To do this, they need to access massive amounts of online information. Often, they don’t have time to do the tedious work of scouring the Internet for what they need, and this is what you can exploit. 

Information Technology (IT) Support

Often, tech startups don’t have the budget to hire a full-time technical support team. If you have robust IT knowledge, you can lend your services, not only to one company but to a host of tech-related businesses in Las Vegas. You can help these companies set up their networks, backup or recover their data, and even assist in software installation and management. You can also offer threat intelligence support and cybersecurity monitoring. 

Social Media Consultation

Most tech startups use the power of social media to advertise their products and services. Over the years, it has become a powerful tool for small businesses. If your expertise is in this field, then you can make a good profit by helping these tech businesses improve their social media presence. 

Video Production

Another widely used mode of promoting goods and services is through video marketing. If you are adept at taking raw video footage and editing them to create an exceptional video, then you can start a video production business in Las Vegas. 

Web Design 

If you have a knack for designing websites, then a web design business is a profitable small business you can start in Las Vegas, particularly now that a number of tech startups are looking at launching their websites. You can offer to create a web design that will echo their brand and vision. 

With the influx of tech businesses in Las Vegas, it is best to come up with a company that will provide services to the sector because it is currently booming, and it will continue to do for the years to come. It’s best to start your business now, perfect it, and reap its benefits. 

 

Different Types of Labor Law Posters for Your Las Vegas Business

Labor law posters are mandatory. They are employment law notices that all employers with at least one employee must conspicuously post in an area most frequented by employees. They can either be placed in break rooms or the employee lounge. Failure to display accurate state and employment law notices can result in hefty fines, penalties, and even lawsuits. Fines depend on the posted and the federal agency, but they range from $110 to $10,000. Maximum penalties apply when the employer is proven to violate the law repeatedly. 

If more than 5% of your employees use a second language, you are also required to have your posters in their language. It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that each and every one of their employees have proper information about their workplace rights following the state and federal employment laws. 

Here are some of the different types of labor law posters that you must have to comply with the Nevada State law: 

Notice of Limitations Affecting the Application of Lie Detector Tests

This poster is mandated by the State of Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner. The NRS 613.480 (3&4) disallows an employer to make any actions any employee should the latter refuse to take a lie detector test or react negatively as a result of any untoward result of the test. Violating this provision may cause the employer to civil liability or pay fines as imposed by the Nevada Labor Commissioner. 

Rules to Be Observed By Employers

This poster must detail all the rules that cover labor laws that look after the health and welfare of employees, including hours of service, working conditions, and necessary compensation. This poster shall include information about break time laws, wages, and statutes and regulations that safeguard against abuse. 

Domestic Worker’s Bill of Rights

This posted includes provisions for household employees. It applies to caregivers and other employees working at a residential facility. It also refers to cooks, waiters, valet drivers, chauffeurs, nannies, companions, babysitters, housekeepers, janitors, caretakers, gardeners, home health aides, personal care aides, and nurses. This posted provides details for NRS 608.008, NRS 608.018, NRS608.0195, NRS 608.154, NRS 608.155, NRS 608 215, and NRS 613.620.

Domestic Violence Bulletin

This poster bulletin details all information an employee must do in case they suffer from domestic violence. It also includes how many days of leaves an employee has and on what circumstances an employee may file for a leave.

2019 Annual Minimum Wage Bulletin

It is mandatory for an employer both the state and federal minimum wage poster. If the employers pay a higher rate, they still need to post these state and federal minimum wage notices.

2019 Annual Daily Overtime Bulletin

Similarly, employers must also post the updated annual daily overtime notice to inform all their employees of their rights. 

Payday Notice

Employers must place this notice in at least two conspicuous places in the building. It includes the name of the business and the manner of payment (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly), and the place of distribution. 

Senate Bill (SB) 312 Paid Leave

All employers of private businesses with 50 employees or more must provide a paid leave to each employee as detailed in this notice. Those who fail to post this notice may receive an administrative penalty of not more than $5,000 for each violation of NRS 608.005 to NRS 608.195, plus additional remedies and penalties. 

Brief Description of Rights and Benefits 

Published by the State of Nevada, Division of Industrial Relations, Workers’ Compensation, this poster provides information on what employees must do when they have any injuries on the job or are suffering from occupational diseases. 

Emergency Phone Numbers

Published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) section, this notice must include the exact address of the business, name of company physician, number of a nearby hospital, ambulance services, fire department, and police department. 

Nevada Safety and Health Protection on the Job

Another notice published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) section of the Division of Industrial Relations of the State of Nevada, this notice includes provisions of the NRS Chapter 618 providing safety and health protection of employees by having safe working conditions. 

Nevada Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act

This act aims to free pregnant women from suffering unlawful and discriminatory employment conditions as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, or any other related medical condition. 

Nursing Mother’s Accommodation Act

This act aims to free nursing mothers from suffering unlawful and discriminatory employment conditions as a result of breastfeeding. It also has information regarding break times necessary for expressing breast milk. 

Employers must also have posters of the following federal laws: 

Employee Polygraph Protection Act

Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law – including supplement

Family and Medical Leave Act

Federal Minimum Wage

USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

Takeaways

While state or federal agencies do not regularly inspect workplaces, it is still necessary to have labor law posters. In most cases, state and federal agencies can investigate your workplace, and posters can be part of their investigation. It is best to comply to avoid penalties and lawsuits. 

Guide to 401k Plan Documents and Records for Your Las Vegas Business

As a business owner, you are responsible for organizing your 401(k) plan documents and records. Being proactive in managing a 401(k) can save you a lot of pain later on. Aside from administrative duties, you also have to deal with investment management. All these make understanding and organizing 401(k) plan documents and records all the more critical. 

The Main 401(k) Plan Documents and Records

Being a plan sponsor or administrator, you must keep documentation for compliance and reference. The most important documents for you to preserve are:

Plan Document (PD)

A plan document is a comprehensive explanation of all the possible adoption of the plan within the IRS determination letter. This document includes important details like eligibility requirements, elective deferral, employer contributions, vesting, and profit-sharing features. 

Summary Plan Description (SPD)

The summary plan description (SPD) is a summarized form of the plan document written in a language understandable for the employee and beneficiaries. It contains all the features stated in the plan document. 

Summary Annual Report (SAR)

This report is a summary of all the details written on Form 5500 for the purpose of plan participants. As a form of compliance, the summary annual report must have a plan’s total asset value, plan contributions, administrative expenses, and the benefits received by the participant. ERISA requires plan administrators to distribute the SAR within nine months after the closing of the plan year, two months after the deadline for Form 5500. Those who fail to provide this will have to pay fines over $100,000, 10-year imprisonment, or both. 

401(k) Adoption Agreement

A 401(k) adoption agreement contains the plan’s specific features. Accurate preparation of this document is necessary since it includes crucial details about the plan’s ruling on eligibility, enrollment features, contributions, and distribution allowances. 

ERISA Fidelity Bond

As mandated by ERISA, every individual who handles plan funds must have a bond. This mandate means that each fiduciary and administrator of a retirement plan must have a bond. These bonds serve as a cover for the plan from losses due to dishonesty or fraud. The Fidelity Bond is 10% of the plan assets totaling $500,000. It is mandatory to keep a record of the Fidelity Bond with the plan documents. 

Hardship Withdrawals and Participant Loans

When a plan participant undergoes financial challenges that cannot be addressed without getting funds from the retirement account, they can make hardship withdrawals or avail of participant loans. When this happens, you have to make thorough documentation as ERISA has a massive list of requirements and conditions for this. 

IRS Determination Letter

The IRS determination letter acts as approval from the IRS. This letter states that the plan sponsor, at the time of the review, met the qualification and legal requirements. It can also serve as proof that you are compliant with the tax code. 

Fee Disclosures

A requirement by ERISA, fee disclosures are documents in which plan sponsors must divulge any individual, administrative, or investment fees incurred to the plan participants. 

Plan Amendments

This document is necessary and applicable if you’ve made any changes in the adoption agreement or there were existing changes in the 401(k) tax laws. Remember, you have to include the most updated features of your 401(k) in this document. 

How Long Do You Keep 401(k) Plan Documents and Records?

According to the Internal Revenue Code and Income Tax Regulation and ERISA, plan sponsors must keep plan records because they are useful in administering pension laws. 

Ideally, you must safekeep 401(k) documents and records at least six to seven years after the filing date of the creation of Form 5500 from the said records. However, it is advisable to keep documents relating to a participant’s claim much longer. 

How Do Your Organize 401(k) Plan Documents and Records?

In general, 401(k) plan documents and records must be kept in three sets of files: Plan Document File, Participant File, and Plan Year File. 

Plan Document File

This file must include all of the operating documents of the plan. Documents to include in this file are: 

  • Plan Documents – base document, IRS determination letter, an adoption agreement
  • Participant Disclosures – SPD, Summary of Material Modification (SMM)
  • Corporate Actions – minutes, agendas
  • Service Agreements – plan service contracts
  • Fee Disclosures 
  • ERISA Fidelity Bond

Participant File

This file must have all forms given by the plan participants. These forms are usually those that required the plan sponsor to take action on behalf of the participant. Documents must include:

  • Beneficiary Designation Forms
  • Distribution Request Forms (including supporting documentation)
  • Investment Election Change Forms
  • Loan Request Forms
  • Participant Deferral Election Forms
  • Payroll Records
  • QDRO Split Requests (including supporting documentation)
  • Rollover Requests

Plan Year File

This file must contain all the vital records pertaining to a plan year. So, it is necessary to have a separate plan year file for each year. This file must include:

  • Annual Valuation
  • Annual Trustee Report
  • Annual Nondiscrimination Testing
  • Annual Participant Notices
  • Form 5500
  • Independent Audit Report
  • Summary Annual Report

Key Takeaways

Seriously document everything. As a responsible business owner, you have to be defensive in every decision you make for your company. If possible, keep a record of each and every transaction you make with your employees, particularly communications about eligibility and plan information. Documentario is your proof that you are compliant and that you accomplish them within the due dates. 

Creating a Mobile App for your Las Vegas Business

Mobile phones have emerged as a necessity. This year, the number of people owning mobile phones worldwide has reached 5.13 billion.

With the emergence of smartphones, people can communicate, check the time, conduct meetings, listen to music, watch movies, transfer money, and do a whole lot of other activities while on the go using a single device.

Mobile applications made all of these possible. There is an app for almost everything now. With billions of smartphones and billions of mobile apps being downloaded to address different needs, your business should be a part of users’ everyday search queries.

Top 5 Benefits of having a Mobile App for your Las Vegas Business

Does your business need a mobile app?

No matter the size or number of customers, the answer is yes – you need a mobile app if you want to take advantage of online users making purchases through their mobile phones. 

Mobile apps provide you with a single platform to reach and engage your customers consistently. Here are five of the many benefits a mobile app can bring to your business:

1. Increased Visibility

A person spends an average of 162 minutes using his/her smartphone every day. Aside from traditional marketing channels, you would want to explore and be present in other places as well. And what better way to promote your business and build brand awareness than to be in a platform where your customers usually are?

2. Personalized Content

A mobile app allows you to directly communicate with your customers and provide personalized messages. If you want to be the brand of choice, mass marketing won’t do the job for you.

Consumers today want to feel that they are appreciated, recognized, and serviced well. With a mobile app, you can send greetings, promos, and offers tailored-fit to the interests and behaviors of each of your customers.

Because you are serving customers with content that is relevant to them, you increase your chances of closing more sales compared to blasting a generic message and promo to your entire customer base.

3. Use of Push Notifications

Gone are the days when you would need a salesman to deal with your customers and print flyers to promote brand awareness.

Thanks to a mobile app’s push notifications feature, you can remind customers about services, make them aware of your offers, and release important announcements in one platform. You make it easy for your customers to be updated and take advantage of special promos.

Compared to email or social media updates, your push notifications do not need to compete with so much clutter and are more often opened, read, and acted upon.

4. Cultivates Customer Loyalty

Aside from updates and special offers, another good use of a mobile app is to build a customer loyalty system in it.

A good example of this is Starbucks. If you load their mobile app with money and use it to pay for your drinks, you earn stars in each purchase. Once you reach a specific number of stars, they give you a free beverage.

This example is a good way of incentivizing your customers to download your app and continue using it. And while they’re at it, sales are continuously coming your way.

5. Increased Accessibility

Having a mobile app makes you more accessible to your customers. They can easily browse for more information, view your products and services, go to the FAQs section, book visits, make payments, call you, chat with support, and more.

Overall, you will be making your customer service better.

Tips in Creating a Mobile App

If you are ready to build a mobile app for your business, here are some tips to remember before you start:

1. Identify the purpose of your app

Just like any other project or venture, the first crucial step is to clearly define your purpose. Knowing clearly what business or customer need your app will solve also tells you what approach to use in motivating users to download. Do some competitor research as well. Take a look at what they currently have or don’t have and find out how yours can be better.

2. Document your requirements well

Now that you know your purpose, spend time to sit down and identify the features that you need. Proper documentation of your requirements is very important before you brief your project team and developers. This way, you are able to itemize and clearly communicate how your desired output looks like.

Weed out unnecessary features that can be added in future enhancements. Make sure that the first version of your mobile app is uncluttered and easy to navigate.

3. Less is more

Keep your app simple but differentiated. You don’t have to overload it with too many functionalities in order to impress your users. As mentioned earlier, identify a purpose and stick with it all throughout your development process. Your mobile app is there to supplement your efforts, not to single-handedly solve every problem.

The most important factors you have to consider are: its user-friendliness and load time. Nobody wants an app that takes up so much space from their phone’s memory and ends up being really slow.

4. Consult with technology experts if needed

Once you have established your requirements, you can choose to consult with experts if needed. This is very beneficial for you if you plan to outsource the app development services. Experts can help you identify the proper phasing of the project and set an appropriate budget.

5. Test your app

Prior to launch, you must test the mobile app thoroughly to prevent bugs from getting to the end-user. You can ask friends and family outside your project team to test the app for you. Don’t guide them in what to do or how to navigate. Their experience will tell you if your app is user-friendly and if your audience will understand and appreciate the purpose of your app.

Usability experts say that the most user-friendly platforms are those that can be navigated and used by anyone without needing to read a user manual. 

Keep in mind that if users face problems or issues in your app, then your company’s brand name will surely be affected. Users now have developed the habit of writing long reviews in Google or Apple app stores if they are extremely disappointed in the app they just used.

What is a Summary Plan Description?

Starting a business comes with the responsibility of preparing documents to comply with government regulations. Aside from making tax reports, employers subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) must also provide their employees with a copy of their summary plan description. 

What is a Summary Plan Description?

A Summary Plan Description or SPD is a document that contains a detailed guide of all the benefits an employer provides to their employees, including the implementation of the said plan. It must include details about employee eligibility, the calculation and payment method of the benefits, the claiming process of their benefits, and the time when benefits become vested. 

One of the requirements of an SPD is that it must be written in a language that would be easy for the employees to understand. The SPD needs to have the following details: 

  • plan name
  • employer’s name and address
  • plan administrator’s name (if other than the employer) and contact information
  • statement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rights
  • ERISA disclosures
  • guidelines on how employees can file for an appeal or grievance

The format of the SPD must not, in any way, misinform or mislead employees and beneficiaries of their rights and obligations. 

Who Must Receive Summary Plan Description?

ERISA mandates employers to provide SPDs to all employees under a retirement or welfare benefit plan. In general, existing and former employees are regarded as “covered” once they become eligible to contribute to or receive benefits under the plan document

Beneficiaries of retirement plans, including their spouse or dependents, must receive an SPD if they are eligible to receive benefits. However, a welfare plan participant’s beneficiaries, while they are likely to receive benefits, do not need to have an SPD. Plan administrators must provide an SPD copy to any participant should they request to have one. 

When Should Participants Receive their Summary Plan Description?

Participants must receive a copy of their SPD: 

  • Within 120 days starting from the day the plan became subject to ERISA;
  • Within 90 days upon enrollment of new participants;
  • Within 30 days upon receipt of a participant’s written request
  • Every five years, should there be any modifications within the period;
  • Every ten years, if no necessary changes occurred. 

Special Considerations for Summary Plan Descriptions 

Preparing a summary plan description can be quite challenging, but it should not discourage you from complying because it has crucial advantages for employers. Employers need to create an accurate and comprehensive SPD because it can be their most powerful tool against a lawsuit. An incomplete or the absence of an SPD exposes an employer to employee lawsuits. 

Another important detail that employers should not miss out when making an SPD is to have a clear definition of an employee who must receive benefits. Employers must also outline what benefits if any, can temporary workers and independent contractors can claim. 

Additionally, if more than 10 per cent of your employees speak a foreign language, consider having your SPD prepared in their language. This practice allows you to remain compliant with the clause that the SPD must be understandable for the recipient. 

If you are unsure of what you should include in your summary plan description, it is best to hire a lawyer well-versed in the ERISA law. They are most qualified to review and make necessary adjustments before you distribute the said documents. 

Takeaways 

Employers who take time to craft an accurate SPD shows the importance they give to their workforce. The document is a clear indication that the employer is committed to providing their employees with the necessary tools they will need to arrive at a well-informed healthcare decision.